Why doesn't Russia have an all-volunteer military NOW?

According to Wikipedia:
The available manpower for the various branches of the [Russian] Armed Forces was estimated at 36 million in 2003… As of 2005, some 330,000 young men are brought into the army via conscription in two call-ups each year. Conscripts are supposed to serve for two years (but only 9% do, according to the Defence Ministry), though this commitment is set to be reduced to one year in 2008. Russian officials say that they plan to achieve a 70% volunteer force by that year.

Even with oil sales bringing in lots o’ cash lately, my understanding is that Russia is having some budgetary problems. So few turn up after being conscripted due to the notorious, and often lethal, hazing that goes on, IIRC. Does Russia not go immediately to an all-volunteer force due to the manpower demands of the Chechen conflict, because of transition costs, mere nostalgia for a big army from the “glorious” days of Soviet rule, or something (or things) else?

Well, a lot of their military was a “home army” that did engineer corps projects. So perhaps they are still being conscripted to supplement governmental labor, or (more likely) to provide free labor for a corporate bigwig’s project? I have no cite for any of this – I don’t even know the current mission of Russian armies – but it’s a possibility.

Because you have to pay volunteers actual salaries to get them to join up. Conscripts, not so much.

Many countries don’t have an all-volunteer military. Denmark has conscription. So does Norway and Sweden and Germany and Switzerland. Many other west-European states just recently phased it out.

Conditions in the Russian military are so horrible (what with hazing, duty in Chechnya, low pay, and no food, as mentioned) that you’d have to improve things quite a bit to get any sane person to join voluntarily, no matter how patriotic. I can’t find the cite right now, but I recall a couple of years ago a relatively high-level official suggested in all seriousness that if soldiers couldn’t afford to eat on their (pitiful) salaries, they should go hunting and gathering in the forest after they finished their daily duty.

You might want to check out the Human Rights Watch report on issues with involuntary conscrption in the Russian Federation.

Not sure that’s an entirely correct description. Pretty much every developed nation has conscription - if they feel it necessary they can force citizens to join the army. Even the US still has the draft.

Countries like Norway, Sweden, Russia etc still hang on to the principle of using conscription in peacetime to train citizens so that they can then draft a ready-made militia army, as an alternative to having a professional standing army.

In the case of the western countries you mention, it’s generally felt to be a better option ideologically or practically. In the case of Russia, it’s probably that there are too many vested interests, whether it’s senior officers using conscripts as bonded labour or bureacrats making a fortune from selling excemption certificates.

Remember, Russia still has an empire to hold on to- sizeable military commitments in Chechnya, for instance.

I don’t think so. There’s a draft registration, but a true draft? Nope.

What do you think the draft registration is for? The SSS isn’t just some anachronism that someone forgot to abolish. If it’s felt necessary, the US has all the machinery and information ready at hand to draft as many adult males as they feel are necessary, probably at fairly short notice. Just because the draft hasn’t been used for a few decades doesn’t mean that it’s gone away, as witnessed by all the recent hysteria among the Blue Team about how the Red team were going to draft everyone and send them to Iraq.